Open house, ribbon cutting scheduled for new fire station

Published 3:35 pm Monday, September 12, 2022

From SQVFD

Members of the Swan Quarter Volunteer Fire Department (SQVFD) will hold a dedication, ribbon cutting, and open house for their Lake Comfort Station on Saturday, September 24, 2022. The location of the new facility is 149 NC 94, Swan Quarter, NC 27885.

The ceremony will begin at 11 am, followed by refreshments, and an open house until 3 pm. The new station will be open for touring and the public is welcome to attend. There will also be children’s activities and time for fellowship for the community.

In the case of severe weather requiring a postponement, the inclement weather date will be October 1, 2022. Attendees are encouraged to visit the SQVFD’s Facebook page for the latest updates: www.facebook.com/Swan-Quarter-VFD .

Planning for the Lake Comfort Station began several years ago, and really picked up speed after members of the SQVFD met with USDA-Rural Development officials in January 2020. A Communities Facility grant and a long-term loan from that agency eventually made the project possible.

Ground-breaking took place in July 2021. At that time, the Earl D. Pugh Family was recognized for their contribution of the land where the station would be built.

The clearing of the land and construction work began in January 2022.

The facility was designed by Hyde County native Ben Cahoon, of Cahoon & Kasten Architects, Nags Head, NC. The construction of the 5,086 square-foot building was awarded to Stocks & Taylor of Washington, NC. It will serve approximately 200 homes with 400 occupants and twenty-two businesses businesses in the SQVFD’s district. Due to the distance from the current SQVFD station on Oyster Creek Road, these property owners were not previously in a ‘rated’ fire district. As soon as the Lake Comfort Station is certified these property owner’s insurance rates will drop accordingly.

Thinking back over the past few years, Chief Stotesberry commented, “We are really excited that at long last we are going to be able to serve the Swan Quarter community even better than we have before. There are still a few more hoops we have to jump through to have the Lake Comfort Station rated by the NC Office of the State Fire Marshal, but we already have enough equipment and personnel to begin running calls from the new station now.”

The SQVFD, along with the other four Mainland Hyde County volunteer fire departments, has a contract with the County of Hyde to provide fire protection services in their district. They also have mutual aid agreements with those departments that allow them to assist in other areas of the county, if needed.

Being a completely volunteer department, SQVFD members are unpaid. In addition to responding to fire calls, they are also trained as first-responders. Additionally, they provide vehicle extrication, initial hazardous materials response, set up landing zones for ECU Health EastCare helicopters, and disaster response services. All of these services are provided to the community at no charge.

In addition to those customary fire department related services, they also are required to maintain their appropriate level of training – all on their own time.

“I can truly say that each SQVFD member loves serving their community. They give selflessly of their own time and talents to make this a better place for all of us to live,” Stotesberry went on to say.

“The other thing I’d like to say is how important our supporters are to the SQVFD. Their monetary donations, volunteering to help with fund-raisers, and daily encouragement have helped to make all of this possible,” he elaborated.

The Swan Quarter VFD was established in 1971 by a group of citizens who were concerned with providing an organized fire safety presence for the community. Since that time, their area of operation has expanded, as has the level of services they provide. They still operate with unpaid volunteers who provide not only fire incident response, but also first responder service for medical emergencies. The original station at 25 Oyster Creek Road will continue to serve the community as it has for over fifty years. Their new station at 149 NC 94 will provide services to the expanded district.  They also work with the Hyde County Schools to provide fire safety awareness to the youth of the community. They are a recognized nonprofit entity by the Internal Revenue Service and donations to the Swan Quarter Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.